“The salary of sea”, on Arte: bitter fishing and anxieties in Boulogne-sur-Mer

Anne Mourgues invites to a sober and moving dive in the daily life of the artisans of the English Channel, faced with an increasing degradation of their working and life conditions.


It was a family pride, transmitted from father to son. Jérémy, 34, followed the traces of his father, a fisherman in Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais). However, with his gaze filled with sadness, the young man assures that he will do everything so that his own son does not perpetuate the tradition. For months, director Anne Mourgues filmed the daily life of Jérémy and her relatives: at sea, on land, during family meetings, at the bank, at the port, on the markets where the direct sales of the day fishing, Without intermediary, is a necessity. The final result is remarkable, with a sober, moving documentary, which draws up a disturbing inventory of artisanal fishing in the English Channel.

This profession made it possible to live on it, this is no longer the case for these artisans and fishermen. The fault of the price of diesel and insurance prices, to the scarcity of noble species like the sole, which are sold at a good price on the markets. To the presence of gigantic Dutch or German boats which bring 250 tonnes of fishing per day while a Fileyeur like that of Jérémy is 50 tonnes per year.

precious licenses

But the fault also in Brexit since, since its implementation, the British authorities have not issued the precious fishing licenses in their waters, located less than 30 kilometers from Boulogne, in many too much limited. Without this license, it is 80 % of the turnover of the French-fishermen who leaves. If Jérémy seems worried and not very talkative, his father, retired after thirty-eight years of trade and who “always worked in British waters”, does not hide anything from the current difficulties: “still ten years ago, the situation was very Good. There was for example no problem for selling a boat, we jostled. Today, in Boulogne, there are boats that have been on sale for two, three years. And nothing moves. “

Jérémy, however, has an urgent need to sell his boat. As his wife specifies, Cynthia: “To pay the crew, engine loans, fishing equipment, boat insurance, URSSAF, you need 40,000 euros per month. We enter 6,000!” On The table accumulates the letters of bailiff, the insurance to pay, the formal notices. “If we did not have our parents who help us and house us, we would become homeless. And yet, we work,” said Cynthia, before adding: “Jérémy, it was passionate. In his family, we are Fisher from father to son. Today, he is disgusted … “

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/Media reports.